Make-up and Cosmetics

Parent Q&A

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  • Kid friendly perfume

    (7 replies)

    My daughter wants to wear perfume like I do when I go out.  I love perfume and even though I don't wear it daily (co-workers have sensitivities) I always wear it on outings or when going out and my daughter has been asking for one too.  I am happy to share, but I think the scent I wear is too mature for her and likely not very healthy for a young child either as it is adult perfume. Anyone has recommendations for a scent that is appropriate for a young child (early elementary) to wear out and that is not too unhealthy.  We don't have sensitivities or allergies in the family and this is only for an occasional use when going out (not for school) but I would still prefer something that is relatively harmless though I don't want to make anything (I would like something I can buy in a pretty spray bottle).  We already have and use scented lotions and she likes them but is now asking for perfume in a pretty bottle like I have.  Anyone's daughter has something that smells good and is relatively safe for kids. 

    Hi! I'm worried that you are going to be descended upon by finger-wagging ninnies, so I wanted to make sure you had a positive reply. I haven't had my daughters ask for this yet, but I nosed around and found this article, with many fun options:
    In case the link doesn't work, you can google "mother mag kids perfume." 

    There's also a brand called Chic Baby that looks cute. Annoyingly enough, Sephora doesn't carry any of them, nor does Nordy's, so I can't tell you where to go to sniff them and see which you like best. If it were me, I'd just order up those Kimmy Girl ones because they're so darn cute. But I'll bet Chic Baby is a safe bet. Can you tell I'm on deadline and don't want to work right now?! 

    How cute!  What about takingher to Body Time and selecting an essential oil scent like vanilla, rose or a custom blend?  It's natural and more age appropriate than the standard perfumes. 

    I love perfume, too! Annick Goutal makes lovely perfumes and some were created for her daughters - one is called Petite Cherie, though she also has Eau de Charlotte (has cocoa and berry notes) and Eau de Camille (ivy and honeysuckle), too. L'Artisan Parfumer has La chasse de Papillion and Mure et Musc which could be nice. Hanae Mori comes to mind, also (has strawberry notes). Perhaps order a few small samples from websites like Luckyscent or Surrender to Chance, then let her pick which one she likes best. Fun!

    Le Labo has a fragrance called Ambrette 9 that was originally formulated for babies/mothers and they used to offer it without alcohol. They had a few different fragrances formulated without alcohol but I cannot find any on their website (I only saw in one of their boutiques a couple years ago). There is a Le Labo store in San Francisco so I would call to see if they still offer any. Their fragrances are pricey but you can purchase samples with small atomizers for $6 and it could be fun for your daughter to have a miniature version (that she can still spray). Along that line, I would bet you could get some samples at Nordstrom, Sephora or other fragrance counters. Years ago L'Occitane had an alcohol free fragrance called Honey Gentle Water that was very mild. I believe it is discontinue but perhaps they have something similar. Lastly, this is a somewhat recent list of some recommendations though the only one I have personally tried is Ambrette  Have fun!

    How about a roll on oil one like lavender?

    My daughter has the same request:). Baby Magic makes a nice fragrance. I allow her to put it on her clothes rather than directly on her skin. This seems to work for now. If you find something else please post.

    You might try some simple essential oils like rose or gardenia or others you can find in natural food stores in roll on form, which contain basically essential oils and no chemicals as in traditional perfumes.

  • Make up shops on 4th Street, Berkeley

    (2 replies)

     I'd like to update my eye makeup and lipstick and want to hear from others about the make up shops on 4th Street. I would like a low key approach, but most importantly

    some one who has  a good eye for the color wheel. I am tired of looking faded.

    Try Nordstrom - the Bobbie Brown counter - it was great for me! Very natural and hip looking

    I really like Mac. I had my makeup updated recently too. I'm a mostly jeans and Tshirt kinda gal, but occasionally I like to fancy it up. I walked in with no makeup on and they were really friendly and helpful. I've also had them do my makeup for super fancy party and they did a great job. I was worried they were going to try to go crazy with primary colors or whatever, but they made me look fantastic in my muted style.  

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Make-up makeover for soon-to-be 40 mommy

April 2004

I'm a soon to be 40 year old mommy and I want to make myself look a bit more attractive and put together since natural beauty is starting to fade. I'm not looking for a huge makeover and I'm more or less pretty happy with the way I look, but I'm just looking for little things to 'spruce' myself up. I just got a haircut and some color and I'm in the process of updating my wardrobe and have a pretty good idea of what I want there. The one thing I'm not sure how to go about is updating my make-up. I wear pretty little make-up right now and I don't want to overdo it (...I once went to a clinique make-up session and looked like a walking paint bucket afterwards...), but I am looking for someone that could show me how to bring out my good features and how to hide the not so good ones in a discrete way. I checked the website, but couldn't find anything specifically relating to a person/business that deals with make-up consultations. tks wanting to look good again

I never really liked wearing makeup, but decided I'd like to to look a little more put together, grown up, whatever, and the Bobbi Brown counter at Nordstrom in SF has always worked well for me...good recommendations, natural looking makeup, friendly and helpful salespeople. I've always just done walk-in makeovers, but I know that they have special events that offer more in-depth advice. I've also recommended Bobbi Brown to several friends and they all have liked the results. Made Up

I suggest you get a second and third ''opinion/makeover'' at a makeup counter of a department store with a brand that you: 1) can afford and 2) like and/or have seen look good on your friends or (even better) family. Call ahead and schedule a consultation/makeover appointment with the person who the store recommends most, or who is most popular with your age group. Your Clinique experience might have been the result of that particular salesperson helping you. I had 2 Mac makeovers at the same Nordstrom by 2 different people and I am thrilled with the results -- but I was very direct about the minimal ''look'' I wanted and how much time/effort I was willing to put into my appearance each day. I'm not endorsing either Mac or Nordstrom; they just work for me. If you ask nicely in the course of a free makeover, many department store salespeople/makeover specialists will honestly tell you which of their products are unique and which you can substitute with cheaper drugstore versions. I have to warn you I purchased sparingly to fill existing gaps in my collection and still spent over $150. And Mac is considered ''low end/economically priced.'' Have fun and enjoy your new look! molly

I promise I'm not getting paid to say this, but I recommend you check out Benefit cosmetics. It's a really fun store, the staff is almost always very helpful and while they do have some wacky, bright make-up appropriate for the young and wild, they also have great basic everyday makeup. Just tell them that's what you're looking for. There area few items of theirs that I can't live without (though I'm sad to say it)--Benetint is one, Lemon-Aid is another. I'm not sure where you live, but if you're in the East Bay, they have a shop on 4th St. in Berkeley. They also have a shop on Fillmore in S.F. They started locally, so it's fun to support them. Genevieve

Try the Aveda salon on fourth street. I've found them to have excellent customer service. They really listen to what you want and don't try to push a bunch of products on you. When they've applied their products on me, I've always liked the subtle, but enhanced look. I've also used Origins at Macy's in SF. I like their products, but found the salespeople a little pushy and their application a bit too heavy for a ''natural'' look. Brightstar

Want help finding better makeup

Oct. 2003

After years of buying what minimal makeup I use (sunscreen/moisturizer, base, lipstick and brow pencil) randomly at the drugstore, I'm thinking the time has come for a more informed approach. I'd like to sit down with a makeup artist or skincare professional who knows a wide range of the products available, try a few out and hopefully discover some better products. I'm thinking this would take maybe an hour and I'd like to pay in the range of $50. It's important that this person -not- be a rep. for only one line of products. Thanks for your help, everyone! Signed, not vain, just practical

I have heard that Elephant Pharmacy in Berkeley does free makeup makeovers on Sundays--I don't think it's a rep for one company, just someone from Elephant who knows about their stuff. Plus the products there are more natural, etc. than what you'd find in the department stores. Sorry I don't know more details (I've actually been thinking about checking it out for myself) but give them a call and they can fill you in. Have fun! Laura

It's finally time to learn how to apply makeup

Feb. 2003

Now that I'm 40 I'm finally taking my mother's 20 years of advice that ''you'd look better with a little lipstick and color in your face.'' I'm embarrassed to say that I have absolutely no idea how to wear make-up! I'd like a recommendation for a professional who can choose the right make-up for my face, show me how to apply it, and recommend the right products. I'm willing to pay whatever's necessary for the consultation but I'm not willing to be sold $300 worth of fancy cosmetics - which is why I'm afraid to go to the make-up counters at Macy's. Thanks! Plain Jane

there is a lday whom I love I went to her not feeling very self confident that day and she just wisk a little eye shadow and lipgloss with just a hint of color and it mad a complete difference and the purchase was no more than 60.00 her name is Penny Ragusano she works at the mac conter in nordstroms in walnut creek she is good , another person who is very good with colors is Lisa Knight she works at Elizabeth Arden red door salon in SanFrancisco she ia a skin care specialist Andrea

It might be worth trying the Bobby Brown line of cosmetics at Nordstrom. The look is very natural, and they can help you choose the right products. I rarely wear makeup but I've been happy with the few things I purchased from Bobby Brown... just blush, mascara and maybe lipstick. JM

I love going to Benefit Cosmetics on 4th Street in Berkeley. My favorite beauty treat is to get a Trio every other month. A Trio is a brow shaping (waxing), a brow tint, and a lash tint. The effect is quite wonderful. To complement your beautiful ''new'' eyes, splurge on one lipstick that is your perfect shade, one compact of pressed powder, one powder blush and you are done. Let the salesperson select your lipstick and powder colors for you - - they really know how to find the right match. Good luck with whatever route you take into lipstick land. Remember, always wear sunscreen. P.S. I have absolutely no financial interest in Benefit Cosmetics. Lynn

I may be partial because I sell Mary Kay but these are the most widely sold products in the US. You get personalized service and the prices are reasonable and comparable to drugstore brands, and the quality is better than department store cosmetics. If you wish, I can schedule a one-on-one with you and we can find the perfect selection for you without spending several hundred dollars. Let me know. Ana

Save your money and go to the Macy's or Nordstrom counter on a quiet day. Explain your situation without shame! (If you can, get a clerk to help you with coloring similiar to yours.) I was the same way ... and it all worked out fine. I occasionally get a facial, and the facialist recommended the Prescriptives line. They have a lightweight foundation that is rated SPF 10 or 15, which I have used for a few years now. It costs about $40 and lasts for several months. Add natural- colored lipstick and eyeliner, and you're done. The ''pros'' will charge you at least $60 for a private class and will show you cosmetics that are even more expensive than the stuff in the department store. MW

You are not required to buy anything when you have a makeover done at a cosmetics counter. You just need will power. That said, I used to work for a company called The Cosmetics Experts in Massachusetts and did makeovers for Elizabeth Arden, Christian Dior, and other ''biggies.'' I would be happy to teach you some basics about applying subtle makeup. You would just have to work into my time schedule as I am now a teacher and busy mom. Kathryn

You might try the Benefit store on Fourth Street. There is a woman named Janice there that is very knowledgeable, sweet, and has a great way with makeup. I walked out with a natural looking face and advice for both day and evening options. The products are smooth and the staff isn't pushy about purchasing them. Good luck. Stephanie

Make Up Consultant?

Nov. 2002

Is there such a thing as a makeup consultant? At 32 (and with a 6 month old), I'm realizing that ''the natural look'' isn't quite cutting it at the office any more. Can anyone recommend a makeup artist or consultant that I could hire on a one-time basis to go make-up shopping in Union Square and show me which products to purchase and how to use them? Would want advice on an every-day work look and a slightly more fancy look for weddings, etc. I don't want to rely on a make up counter sales person b/c I know that no one line has the best of all products. Also, looking for someone who will not balk when I keep saying it looks ''too heavy'' or that I need to get ready for work in 3 minutes. Thanks. Anonymous

The perfect person for you is Kathy at DiPietro Todd in Union Square. She has created her own make-up line, and will work with you to find a look that you like. She has a large space on the street side of the salon, with floor to ceiling windows so you can get a better idea of how you look in natural light. I usually don't like wearing makeup at all, but after two babies in 3 years, I was also looking pretty splotchy. She created what I call magic powder in a shade just right for me. All I do is lightly brush this powder all over my face, and around my eyes with a smaller brush, add mascara, and I'm set. It magically evens out my whole face without any cream or concealer. She's expensive, but I think, entirely worth it.

I would recommend a Mary Kay Consultant. I never used the products until after I had my baby. I hosted a party for a friend and we all did our make up and I realized how much I had missed it. They will come to you and help you with color. You don't have to go out. The products are all about the same price as anyplace on Union Square and I would say just as nice or nicer. I've used several ''high end'' as well as pharmacy brand make up brands and the quality of Mary Kay is the same and better.If you are interested, you can email me for my friend's info. tief

Van Luong is a make-up consultant at Macy's (Union Square). She sells Clinique, the hypo-allergenic line. I would trust her to work with you to acheive a slightly up-graded natural look. (She works for me full-time at the San Francisco Public Library and is one of the most gracious, attractive young women I know...) BTW, I like Clinique as its not animal tested, among other things.) Dorothy

Sorry, I don't have any advice re: a make-up consultant but I highly recommend Paula Begoun's book, ''Don't Go To The Cosmetic's Counter Without Me.'' Find her most updated version and check out her website for even more updated information. She reviews all sorts of beauty products, tells you which ones are pure rip offs, etc. Don't let the fact that she sells her own line of cosmetics/facial products scare you off. I took a chance on them (just the facial products) and I'll never use anything else again. I use her cleanser, exfoliant, and moisturizer. Lisa

Try Benefit on Fourth Street in Berkeley. They gave me a really quick, natural looking set of products/regime. I told them I needed a mom-friendly, easy way to look a little more polished. I've found them to be friendly and less pretentious/icky than the department store people. just started wearing makeup

I rarely buy makeup b/c I much prefer the ''natural'' look and because I am very wary of the ladies behind the cosmetics counters who don't always know what to do with my Asian features. BUT, I recently wanted to replace my 3-year-old foundation and went to the Prescriptives counter at MACY'S in the Walnut Creek Mall. I liked the colors and suggestions I got from a young woman named Natalie who helped me. She honored my ''natural'' look and through her choice of colors and application techniques really enhanced my overall appearance. I'm generally pretty frugal, but I ended up buying a whole new set of makeup--eye stuff, lip stuff, blush and brush, even eye shadow, which has never looked good on me with my non-western eyefolds. I learned a few new things about how to better apply my makeup and now I wear it all every day. I even feel like the money was well spent. I don't know if Natalie will be right for you, but I was compelled to respond because this happened to me so recently and I really hate dealing with makeup! I think the key was that I found someone I could trust and who understood my style. I started out doing just one thing with her (getting ''colorprinted'') and as I felt I could trust her instincts allowed her to do more and more. As for choosing a brand of makeup, I've always liked the general collection of Prescriptives. There are others, like Chanel, that seem too bold for me. They also seem to have cosmeticians who do their makeup in a way I wouldn't want for myself. Made-over 35-yr-old new mom

I know just the person that can help you and she lives in Rockridge. She has tons of experience with personal makeup consultation, weddings, runway shows, and has appeared on TV and national publications, etc. Check out her websites: and She did my makeup as well as all the bridesmaids' at my wedding - she is FABULOUS! Miki

I don't know anybody like you described, but I would disagree to an extent about the in-store makeup people. Sure you might not like the whole line of products - cleansers, creams, makeup - but I think it is a good idea to stick to one brand for your makeup (i.e. base, blush, eyes and lips) as you get a more unified, natural look. I would highly recommend the Bobbi Brown line for base, powder, blush - it provides the natural look you are going for. Laura

Some years ago I had a makeup consultation with a makeup artist/hair stylist named Petra Maria (I think her phone number is (510)452-3454, but check the phone book. Back then, she lived near Lake Merritt (on the Grand Avenue side). Petra did an incredible job! She gave me a haircut that could look very stylish or very casual depending on what I did to it. She also showed me how to do a simple but great looking makeup application that took about 10-15 min (she did it in less time 'cause she was more practiced at it!) that didn't require a lot of different types of makeup. She knows her craft well and can advise you on the best products to buy that aren't necessarily the most expensive. By the way, she did my makeup for my wedding almost 5 years ago and I still get complimented on how beautiful, glamorous, and natural I looked without the excess makeup! I highly recommend her. One warning though, she was in a teaching program back then, so she might not be doing this much. But do give her a call--she was great at what she did and she was also a genuinely nice person! Feel free to write if you have any questions. nettie

Make-up artist for wedding photos

June 2003

I'm getting married in September and need to find a good make-up artist. Someone who does make up that is good both on-camera (for the photography) and off -- in other words, knows that you don't have to put 2 pounds of make-up on someone in order for it to look good in the photographs. So, any one have any recommendations? Oh, I also need some one who can do it on a Sunday and won't charge me an arm and a leg (we're on a tight budget!). Thanks for any help you can give! soon-to-be-wed

Recommendations received:

  • Alexander Pope Rockridge
  • Hair Tailor Montclair
  • Peter Thomas Berkeley
  • Shear Delight Alameda

    More advice:

    Since you are on a tight budget, why not do it yourself? I asked the line of cosmetics that I use the most (Clinique) at Macys if they had free consultations. They did and they helped me with applying my own makeup correctly for my wedding. (I only use make up about 3-5 times a year and didn't want to purchase all new items). Also, in addition to a free consultation, it was with someone who happens to do wedding make up on a regular basis. She was more than helpful (I even went back and asked more questions) and I only purchased 1 product to finalize the look. When my wedding day came, everyone thought it was done professionally. Good luck and it is worth the try since you have time for trial and error. Suzanna

    i highly recommend stacy mcclure- she is very gifted and puts make-up on very naturally-usually,when people do my make-up i feel like a man in drag and with stacy i just feel like myself-only better!! check out her website-www.makeupbystacy

    I highly recommend a good friend of mine Rosemary Bernardo to do your make up for your wedding. She is reasonably priced and will not go over board with the make-up. Her email is: rb3469 at Congratulations and Good luck! sainabou